|Play title||Ukiyozuka Hiyoku no Inazuma|
|Author||Tsuruya Nanboku IV|
The most popular scenes are the 6th ("Suzu-ga-Mori") and the 8th ("Sayaate"). They are frequently staged independently. Nowadays, a t˘shi ky˘gen production of "Ukiyozuka Hiyoku no Inazuma" always includes "Suzu-ga-Mori", "Sanza R˘taku" and "Sayaate".
The Sasaki family's retainers, Fuwa Banzaemon, Honj˘ Sukedayű and his son Sukehachi, conspire to take over the domain, seizing the occasion of the death of their lord. Their plan is to support Gakugor˘, an illegitimate son, keeping Katsuranosuke, the legitimate heir, at a distance. As two loyal retainers, Nagoya Sanzaemon and Shirai Hy˘zaemon, stand in their way, Banzaemon and Sukehachi murder them at night, and steal a precious scroll with which Hy˘zaemon was entrusted by his lord and a sword by Kunitoshi which was in the possession of the Nagoya family.
Katsuranosuke and Gakugor˘ are paying homage today to the Hasedera Temple at Kamakura, attended by their retainers. Since Sanza is entrusted with the genealogical table of the Sasaki family, he is ordered to present himself. As his sword is identical to the one stolen by Kunitoshi, he intends to find a clue to the stolen sword in the precinct.
Presently, the koshimoto Iwahashi, a maid in attendance, comes to the Temple, accompanied by the yakko Hachinai. Hachinai hands over Sanza's love poem to her. As she writes happily her poem in reply, Ishizuka Genba, one of Banzaemon's accomplices, appears and asks her to do the same for Banzaemon. She refuses and escapes from him, leaving her sandal behind.
Banzaemon and Sukedayű take Gantetsu, an acolyte at the Temple, into their group, steal the scroll from a casket, and substitute Iwahashi's sandal for the scroll. Discovering that Sanza has captured her heart, Banzaemon tries to lay the guilt of theft on Sanza and Iwahashi. However, Hachinai protects Sanza, and humiliates Banzaemon by producing his love poem for Iwahashi.
Katsuranosuke, the heir to the lordship, dismisses Sanza, Iwahashi, and Banzaemon, ordering them to discover the scroll and the sword. One condition is that if they are discovered by Sanza, Katsuranosuke will succeed to the house of Sasaki, and if Banzaemon finds them, Gakugor˘ will inherit the headship. After the group leaves, Sanza takes off with Iwahashi in a thunder-storm. They are seen off by spiteful Banzaemon. At night, Gonpachi visits his uncle Sukedayű and remonstrates with him in vain. Consequently Gonpachi kills him.
Shirai Gonpachi, on his way to Edo from his native province, approaches Suzu-ga-Mori where palanquin bearers are waiting to capture him for reward as he is now a wanted man. Gonpachi is forced to fight them and kills them all. Just then Baunzui Ch˘bŕ happens to pass by, and, impressed with Gonpachi's swordsmanship, he pledges to take care of Gonpachi. Promising to meet again in Edo, they continue their journeys.
Sanza now spends his days at a humble house in Asakusa, Edo. With Sanza being without a lord, his wife Iwahashi has sold herself into a brothel at Yoshiwara, calling herself Katsuragi, Since he visits her nearly everyday, he is now reduced to extreme poverty. Today the house is full of the landlord, the rice merchant, and the charcoal merchant, all clamoring to be paid, and Okuni, his loyal maid, is very busy dealing with the creditors. Just then, a heavy shower hits the house, and because of the leaks in the roof, even the creditors go away.
Hearing the evening temple bell, Sanza lies down and falls asleep. Standing at his bedside, Okuni gazes upon his sleeping face in rapture. She has been in love with her handsome master. But, he is her master and has Katsuragi as his wife.
Worse still, Okuni has an ugly birthmark on her cheek, which looks like a lightning flash. In resignation, she keeps her feelings for Sanza only to herself and pathetically keeps on her a print of a young actor who is almost identical to Sanza. Suddenly there is commotion outside and someone rushes into the house. It is Ukiyo Matahei, her old father, who has narrowly missed capture by the police. She apologizes to the pursuers, and, through her tears, remonstrates with him. Sanza wakes up and asks Okuni to fetch his party clothes from a pawnbroker, telling her that since Katsuragi has visited him many times to comfort him he has to see her that night. Okuni takes her own belongings and the best of the household effects to the pawnbroker so that his kimono - patterned with swallows in the rain - can be taken out.
Just then Katsuragi, beautifully dressed, comes to see him, followed by her attendants. After a drinking bout, Katsuragi tells him secretly that one of her clients, known as Teranishi Kanshin, is none other than Banzaemon. Having delivered her message, she leaves with her attendants. However, Otsume, the mistress of the brothel which employs Katsuragi, turns back and sees Matahei. They are both Banzaemon's accomplices, and she puts poison in Sanza's sake bottle. Presently Okuni returns with Sanza's party clothes. He gets ready for the evening and she dresses his hair. By chance he discovers on her arm the tattooed words "my master" and realizes her feelings for him. Deeply moved, he makes love to her. While Sanza gets changed in the back, Matahei comes out and asks Okuni to give Sanza the poisoned sake. Realizing that she cannot stop Matahei, she tricks him into drinking the sake with her.
Night falls and Sanza comes out of the back to discover what has happened. In front of him Okuni bravely tries to endure her suffering. Through his tears Sanza tells her to "look after the house" and hurries to Katsuragi. Okuni, now breathing faintly, sees her beloved man off.
The cherry blossoms are adding an extra gay color to Yoshiwara, the pleasures quarter of Edo. Night fire watchmen pass each other, one coming from the east and the other from the west.
Presently, Banzaemon, known as Teranishi Kanshin, comes along in a fancy kimono patterned with thunderbolts, wearing a wicker traveling hat. Sanza, in a similar hat and wearing the kimono with the pattern of swallows, also appears. They both praise the beauty of Yoshiwara. As they pass each other, their sword scabbards touch. Banzaemon seizes Sanza's scabbard and accuses him of not meeting Banzaemon respectfully. Sanza retorts by telling him that there are other people besides himself. Both remove their hats and disclose themselves. Banzaemon boasts that he intends to take Katsuragi as his companion even at the risk of his life. Sanza will not have it. They draw and are about to fight, when Oume, the mistress of a tea-house, rushes between them. They agree to stop their fight for the moment. However, Banzaemon swears that he cannot sheathe his sword without seeing blood. Oume suggests that they should exchange their swords, each keeping his own scabbard. When they do it, the swords are found to be almost identical. Since Sanza's scabbard was made to be identical to that of the stolen sword "Kunitoshi", it is almost certain that Banzaemon stole the sword and killed Sanza's father. However, to keep Oume in countenance Sanza decides to fight Banzaemon some other time and walks away.
The actors Onoe Kikugor˘ III, Segawa Kikunoj˘ V and Ichikawa Danjűr˘ VII playing the roles of Nagoya Sanza, the koshimoto Iwahashi and Fuwa Banzaemon in the drama "Ukiyozuka Hiyoku no Inazuma", which was staged in the 3rd lunar month of 1823 at the Ichimuraza (print made by Utagawa Toyokuni I)
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